How do you Rank? ...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Tue, Mar 03, 2015

Here we are at the beginning of the last month of the quarter, and as managers and sales professionals, we're consistently reviewing ....

  • ...the percentage achieved and to go to reach Quota and Plan for Q1
  • ...the total pipeline opportunity pipeline
  • ...What's at the narrow end of the funnel and can close in March
  • ...The stats of revenue, bookings, or ACV or MRR 

At the end of March, all of us in sales and management will be judged on the achievement against our sales plans, whether those metrics are based on the higher quota plans or the lower numbers found in the company's business plan that was committed to the Board in early January.  The numbers will be the numbers, so let's take a look at the recent CSO Insights data on how we did overall with quota attainment over the last few years:

sales quota achievement





Quota Performance was suprisingly less than stellar last year, especially given a much stronger 2014 business climate in both B2B and B2C sales than in 2013. 

When we take a look at the reasons behind the numbers, we come up with answers such as:

sales optimization

My take on this weak performance is that the world of the buyer has changed forever, and too many salespeople and their managers have not caught up with improved tools, more defined processes and integrated technologies.  

I've been studying these stats and the data behind them for seven years now, and what's frustrating to me is that all of these barriers are directly (I didn't say "easily") correctable.

Let's take this a step further, and even though I believe it's a cop-out in today's environment of Sales and Marketing being joined at the hip, if I were to cut out anything to do with Marketing from the chart above...

  • Lack of qualified leads
  • Poor Sales and Marketing Alignment

...everything else is directly correctable by sales managers who are focused on optimizing their sales processes and enabling their salespeople with the appropriate sales tools.  

Lack of Adherence to Process & Weak Tools

  • Competitive differentiation says to me that the company's current Value Proposition tool is weak and being used inneffectively and/or that the sales team is not adequately trained in delivering it. 
  • The items identified as "Close Rates", "Long Sales Cycles", and "Inaccurate Forecasts" all point to Items #5, #6 and #13.  Close rates, long sales cycles and inaccurate forecasts all result either from a weak sales process which is not uniform among the team, or worse, there's no process at all.  

If we think about the various levels of Sales Process adoption among a wide range of sales organizations, we define these as......

Level 3:  Companies who are Trusted Partners and use formal processes
Level 2:  Companies who are Solutions Providers and Strategic Contributors but only use informal processes.
Level 1:  Approved Vendors & Preferred Suppliers who either have no process or use Random Processes.  What we call "Kinda Processes"

When we take a look at process adoption and what that means to quota success, the resulting table looks like...


Sales Process Results









Bottom Line:  

Formal Sales Processes always wins.  They win in reps making quota.  They win in the number of wins achived.  They win in improving forecasting accuracy, and they win by reducing turnover among your sales team.

The very good news about it being March, other than the hope that we're done with the snow and cold, is that no matter how you finish in Q1, there's plenty of time left in the year to readjust yiour metrics, tighten up on your sales process, invest in more tools and perfect your sales training so that you can significantly impact the results for Q3 and Q4.  

When you're meeting with your sales team this week, review these stats with them, compare them to your own metrics, and then set a date for a day-long sales planning session in early April.  Review your Q1 metrics, measure where you are against your Quota Plan but, most importantly, spend your time detailing out your improvement tactics and your activity plans for both Q2 and Q3.

Welcome to 2015.  Going be a great long as you're planning for it.

  Jack Derby 

Head Coach  
Derby Management...for 25 years
-Sales & Marketing Productivity Experts
-Business & Strategy Planning Specialists
Box 171322, Boston, MA 02117
Jack's Cell: 617-504-4222 

Plan now to attend our 2015 Sales Management Boot Camp held at the MIT Endicott House on October 4th-6th.  Over 7 years of continuing success involving 450 plus heads of sales, President and CEOs.

Sales Management Boot Camp October 2015 resized 600







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Tags: sales productivity, Sales Optimization, Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, sales and marketing best practices, sales, sales management, sales plan process, sales effectiveness, sales enablement, sales planning, sales management training, sales management boot camp